Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sewing: Clothes

Although I made lots of clothes when I first learned to sew, I haven't done as much in recent years.  I have made a few things for the kids, but not much, simply because they haven't needed clothes.  I realized recently, though, that if I don't make them a few things now, when they're young and will actually wear what I make, I'll someday regret it.  And, as they get older, I'm finding they have more gaps in their wardrobe that need to be filled, so sewing a few things seems like an obvious solution.

So far, Joanna is the first of the kids to receive new mommy-made clothes, as I whipped up a couple of summer dresses for her.  Sometimes, buying fabric can make sewing clothes more expensive than buying new (especially those on clearance!), so I've been trying to be a little creative with my fabric sources.  I found some fabric and a cute tablecloth at Goodwill, and by buying both on a sale day, I made both of Joanna's dresses, and a skirt for me, for about $5!

For this dress, I used the free Summer Picnic Dress pattern from the Cottage Mama.  It was easy to make and turned out adorable!

This dress is a basic "pillowcase dress" (although I made it from a tablecloth instead!).  Cute and simple, this will probably be my go-to design for summer dresses for the next couple of years.  Although definitely more basic than the Summer Picnic Dress, it is still very cute and was so much quicker to make!

I had enough tablecloth fabric left to make a cute skirt for myself.  I used this tutorial, although I followed a suggestion in the comments to eliminate the elastic and make a wider, fold-over waistband from the knit fabric.  It turned out great and the knit waistband is so comfortable!  Although it's technically a maternity skirt, I have a feeling it's going to be especially useful at the end of the summer, after the baby is born!

While I was making a flannel shirt for my dad for his birthday, Seth kept hinting that he'd like one, too. How could I ignore that?  So I made another and managed to get it finished just in time for his recent school trip.  

Next on my clothes list is some summer shorts for the boys, and probably some t-shirts for Benjamin.  This tutorial makes t-shirts seem really easy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Finished Room

It all started with curtains.  Seth had been wanting to re-do our office (library, hobby room, etc.) ever since we moved in, but when I made him a pair of curtains for the room, he was inspired to get started on the rest of it!  The important thing is not how long it took, but that we actually finished, right?  So who cares that it took six months to finish putting our office together!  =)

As a reminder, here's how it looked originally:

I should clarify that at its best, the room did look nicer than this.  This was the only
picture I had, and it was just after we moved in, before we got it organized and when
we were still using the room to store things until they found a permanent home.  
Seth started by tearing out the ugly built in bookshelves.  Then he pulled up the carpet, revealing the wood floor underneath.

We decided that rather than sanding down the floor to look new, we actually liked the look of the worn, paint-splattered wood, so Seth just lightly sanded to remove splinters, and we then varnished right over top of it all.  We love that it looks old.

We painted the room a dark brown.  I was a little worried that it would look too dark and dreary, but it actually makes the room look warm and cozy, and it looks nice next to the yellow living room.

The highlight of the room, at least for us, is the new bookshelves Seth built.  He used old bricks (free off Craigslist!) and long pieces of wood to build a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookshelf.  We love how it complements the brown walls and wood floor!  It looks so much nicer than the old bookshelf, and it takes up less space, which makes a big difference in a small room.

Ezra always wants to be involved in whatever we are doing!
And he loves getting out "his" tools.
(We have the Green Toys toolbox - and we highly recommend it!)
There were lots of willing "helpers"!

And now, after all these changes, we have an office that looks like this:

We found a comfy chair at the thrift store, but I loved how it looked in the living room, so Seth had to find another one for the office!  It makes a cozy reading spot.

I couldn't help that this chair matched perfectly with my curtains!  =)
This new one works just as well in the office - and now we have two cozy chairs to enjoy! 
My sewing station looks much the same, except that my storage bins moved, and I added a thread rack on the wall, which I absolutely love!  Not only does it keep my thread easily accessible, but it looks so nice with all the pretty colors!

Although the room is technically "done", we still have a few improvements we're hoping to make.  I'm hoping to find a few more nice baskets or bins for storage under the bookshelf.  We have a new (old) light fixture we're planning on switching out with the one that is currently in the room (that one will be going in the living room to replace the really ugly one there).   We're also on the hunt for a cute, small (but tall) dresser to replace the plastic drawer bins I am currently using to store sewing and craft supplies.

We are so pleased with how this room turned out - and it is so fun to see how much can be done on a small budget!